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Normal Real Estate Transaction Time Line

Many buyers often ask me to review the normal real estate transaction timeline: Buyer gets a loan preapproval letter from an established local mortgage broker such as one of the persons listed under mortgage information here on my website.

Search is undertaken with assistance of myself as buyer's agent. Team effort to find a suitable property.

An offer is made. A check for $1,000 ("The binder") is presented with the offer. Generally speaking, the check is made out to the listing broker office for the property. Appropriate loan preapproval letter is attached to the offer. Letter of introduction may also be attached to the offer. Within 5 business days: If the offer is accepted, next step is a home inspection. A buyer may also have a pest inspection or other inspections done at this time. (By law, the buyer has 10 days to have a lead paint inspection completed.)

If the home inspection is acceptable, a buyer will usually secure a real estate attorney at this juncture to begin communicating with the seller's attorney. If the property is a condominium, there is a review of the condo documents & budget. In due course the attorneys prepare the purchase and sale agreement.

Within 7 to 10 business days: If the deal is still on track, next step is the execution of the purchase and sale agreement ("The P&S"), which replaces the signed, accepted offer as the document binding Buyer and Seller. A second check, usually for 5 to 10% of the purchase price, is written by the Buyer at this stage. It joins the binder check in the escrow account established for the transaction.

Generally speaking, 3 to 4+ Weeks after signing of the purchase and sale, the mortgage commitment is issued.

Closing - the date arrives for the transfer of real estate. Generally speaking, the closing is 4-6 weeks after the offer is accepted.

I help buyers buy and sellers sell in Cambridge and Somerville, MA. Here to help you. Let's talk.

Call me at 617-733-8937 or email me.

See answers to common real estate questions at

Check out the Cambridge Somerville Buy Sell Report at

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